Breastfeeding should be primary source of nourishment for a newborn baby up to 6 months, but sometimes the Milk of Moms needs Mother Nature’s help to flow freely. Galactagogue are herbs that are used to help increase breastmilk production in nursing mothers.
1. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
This herb most often used to help increase breast milk supply. Its sweet/spicy flavor is popularly used in a variety of culinary dishes, including Indian curry. It is used to help soothe digestion and is well documented to effectively decrease cholesterol and blood sugar as well as increasing breast milk supply. It is generally recognized as safe, although because of its ability to stimulate the uterus, it is not for use during pregnancy. Large amounts of fenugreek should be avoided by people with asthma or an allergy to chickpeas.
2. Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
It is shown to increase milk production in goats and has long been used as a galactagogue by breastfeeding women. This licorice-tasting herb is also used as a digestive aid that can help to soothe a colicky breastfed baby and ease postpartum discomfort. It is contraindicated (do not use) during pregnancy.
3. Red Raspberry Leaf:
It promotes fertility and increases breast milk supply. According to the APA, while studies indicate red raspberry leaf is likely safe during late pregnancy, a firm conclusion of safety during the first trimester is lacking. Most doctors recommend minimal use of red raspberry leaf during early pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf contains a variety of nutrients that are important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The herb contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Red raspberry leaf is also a good source of B vitamins, including thiamin and niacin, as well as vitamins E and C.
4. Brewer’s Yeast
It is often recommended as a nutritional supplement during breastfeeding. It is used to increase the supply of breast milk. It is also believed to help combat fatigue and fight off the baby blues. Brewer’s yeast does pass to the baby through breast milk and is generally well-tolerated. However, in some infants, irritability and colic-like symptoms may occur. If you or your baby develop diarrhea or other digestive issues, you should decrease the amount of the supplement you are taking or stop taking it altogether.
A great herb for increasing breastmilk production while providing the body with lots of good vitamins and minerals. It is very high in Vitamin K in particular, which helps to staunch bleeding. Many midwives encourage all their clients to take Alfalfa for at least six weeks before birth, and for several months afterwards, to help avoid hemorrhage at the birth, and to help the body recover and make plentiful breastmilk afterwards. (Alfalfa is also an ingredient in the Nursing Tea/Nursing Tincture. Note: This herb is not recommended for use by those on blood-thinning medications due to its high levels of Vitamin K.)
6. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
A very recent study documented that women using milk thistle had significant increase in breast milk over the population using a placebo.
7. Anise Seed (Pimpinella Anisum)
It is a culinary spice and a digestive herb that helps dispel gas and relieve indigestion and nausea as well as increase milk flow. According to the German Commission E, it is used in combination with Fennel seed and Caraway seed for dyspeptic conditions and gastrointestinal discomfort.
8. Blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
It is a bitter tasting herb that is often used in galactagogue teas and tinctures. There is also much historical evidence that it helps increase breast milk. Blessed Thistle should not be consumed during pregnancy.
9. Chaste Tree (Vitex)
It has historically been used to treat everything from hangovers to flatulence and fevers to increasing breast milk production. It has also been studied for reducing the symptoms of PMS and menopause.
10. Goat’s rue (Galega officinalis)
It has been recommended by the German commission E for its use as a galactagogue. Its galactagogue properties were first noted to effectively increased milk in goats. It is used by nursing mothers and by farmers to increase milk production in their livestock. It grows so aggressively that it is now classified as a noxious weed. Goat’s rue should not be confused with Rue (Ruta graveolens), which is used in primitive cultures as a powerful uterine stimulant and abortifacient.
Food that may help:
- Eating oatmeal daily
- garlic in moderation
- ginger in moderation are all thought to help milk supply.